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Letter from the Principal 9-11-15

posted Sep 13, 2015, 6:56 AM by Massabesic highschool   [ updated Sep 13, 2015, 6:59 AM ]

Letter from the Principal 9-11-15



Principal’s Memo

Dear Parents, Guardians and Students,

September 11, 2015

Our school year has started off well, even though we have had a very warm beginning. As we end our 6th day I want to take the opportunity to thank our students for their positive efforts during the beginning of the 2015-2016 school year. With most students finalizing any needed schedule changes, all students now receiving their iPads and others already knee deep into their learning I look forward to another positive and successful school year at Massabesic High School.

In my grade level meetings with students this week I emphasized the positive efforts the students of “Mustang Nation” along with our staff have made in previous years. We have much to be proud of, to build off of and to celebrate! I also shared the need for our present student body to now take the lead in our classrooms, in our hallways, in our activities, on our playing fields and in demonstrating the respect that all deserve! We need to use the potential greatness that each one of us possesses in order to grow, prosper and achieve. We are a team; a “Mustang Team” where each of the parts and/or stakeholders, play critical roles in support of each student’s future success!

We have great kids and a fine staff that we all should be proud of!

Some Important Dates:

  • -  9-15-15 “Meet & Greet” (Open House) 5:15 – 6:50 PM
    o Senior College Kickoff Night 7:00 PM (MHS Aud.)
    o Grade 11 Parents: The importance of the SAT Test 7:00 PM (MHS West Cafe)

  • -  9/15 – 9/18 Juniors and Seniors may obtain a parking permit in Room 325W before or after school

  • -  9-21-15 Jostens talks with Sophomores about Rings

  • -  9/22 - 9/25 Sophomores, Juniors, and Seniors may obtain a parking permit in Room 25W before or after school

  • -  9-25-15 Jostens collects ring orders

  • -  9-26-15 – 10-3-15 Homecoming Week!

  • -  10-3-15 Homecoming Dance 7:00 – 10:00 PM

This coming Tuesday, MHS will be holding our 2015-2016 “Meet & Greet” Open

House for parents and guardians. Our format has been adjusted to allow parents &

guardians to drop-in when they are available instead of following a schedule, which starts

at a certain time. We will also be running a rotational schedule for Freshmen Parents &

Guardians to move through short presentations from their son or daughter’s team

teachers, a little later in the evening. Our Schedule for the evening is as follows:

- *5:00 PM Doors open, Parents & Guardians pick up their son or daughter’s

schedule along with a map in the cafeteria at the West Building. If they have a

Freshmen they will also get their team’s schedule to start at 6:00 PM

- 5:15 – 6:50 All teachers will be in their classrooms in both buildings for parent-

guardians to drop-in and ask questions etc...

- At 5:55 9th Grade Parents & Guardians are to report to the East Building to

their son or daughter’s team

- 6:00 – 6:50, 9th Grade Parents & Guardians will rotate through a schedule of their

son or daughter’s Core Classes (English, Math, Sci. & SS)

- 7:00 – 8:30 Evening Presentations:

o Grade 11 Parents: The importance of SAT Test (West Cafe)

o Grade 12 Parents: Kick off to College (Auditorium)

*Cadets from our NJROTC Program will be stationed throughout both of our buildings to assist visitors around our school.

, , Arts, , , ,

and . Please look online for more information on any of these programs by Going to the SRTC Web Site. If you have any interest please contact your Guidance Counselor ASAP! Thanks!

MHS Student Parking Information Fall 2015:

  • -  In order to obtain a student, parking permit, students must produce a current license, registration, insurance, and provide a completed and signed parking permit form along with the permit fee of $12.00. Parking permit forms can be found in the main office at the West.

  • -  After 9/25, student vehicles are not permitted on school grounds during school hours without a parking permit. Non-permitted vehicle information will be given to our School Resource Deputy for follow through and may result in a 10 day driving suspension to begin once a permit is issued to the student.

  • -  Once the student parking lot is full, a waiting list will be established and students will be issued permits as room becomes available.

    It would be our pleasure.

    Why did we go from trimesters to semesters this year? Over the past two years we had been looking at either adjusting or changing our schedule based on wanting to see if we

Juniors and Seniors SRTC has a few openings – In the following programs:



Computer Network Systems



Fire Science




Video Production

What if we don’t have a printer at home – When Mr. Elkington emails us important forms? Please know that anytime I email information home, your son or daughter only

needs to ask the main office at the East or the West Buildings, along with secretaries in

guidance to print something for you.

could improve the instructional and learning environment at our school. Let me share some of our reasoning for this change with you:

  • -  Even though we did see marked improvement in student course success with our change to the Trimester schedule five years ago, it was not perfect. The trimester schedule reduced the ability of our staff to work with students for longer periods of time, while also reducing opportunities for students to take more classes. Our teachers felt that they had lost some ownership of their students’ results and wanted to work more closely for longer periods of time with our kids.

  • -  The best research in education around improving student success tells us that we must find ways to have our teachers meet to discuss, work with each other, review student work and learn from each other, more than we presently doing. That teams-of-teachers and/or schools that make collaboration time happen, like in business, see the most academic growth and greater, overall student achievement. In the trimester schedule it was impossible for us to do this so we needed to look at changing our daily schedule.

  • -  We have gone back to a schedule similar to one our school used previously, with changes and adjustments that we have found to be effective and supportive of student needs within the trimester schedule. This along with the improvements we have made with communication, intervention programming and teacher instruction will allow students to continue to make the growth they need and we all want over the coming years!

  • -  Our semesters will work as follows:
    o A semester will meet for 18 weeks
    o Students will have 3 to 4 classes a day
    o Classes meet every other day on a Green and White Day Schedule o Class time is 75 minutes per class.

    Where are we – With implementing the Standards-Based Diploma for the Class of 2019? At present we are concentrating on having an excellent start to our school year and working through a few glitches that have a tendency to come up when the school year starts.

    Our next steps are in place and moving forward to have the Class of 2019 be the first class at MHS to graduate with the SBD. Last spring and early this summer several meetings were held with parents & guardians where several questions and concerns were shared about our next steps. Answers to these questions can be found on the MHS Web Page under the Massabesic “M” by clicking on the yellow link. Our new Assistant Superintendent Mr. Malone is in the process of reviewing the previous decisions made, the public comments and the present plans in place to determine what our next steps as approved by the school board will be. A new set of public meeting dates will be shared in the next few weeks as we look at our school’s and district’s next steps. Please stay tuned.

    Accelerated Course Expectations – And expecting ALL students to demonstrate a strong work ethic is an area of concern we have had for many years within both our school and our Honors Courses, now called Accelerated Courses. We have tried a few differing ideas, but have not seen the improvement we know that all of our students

should be able to strive for if they are to compete in the 21st Century. Our program of study shares the following expectations “Students in weighted courses, are expected to maintain a 3 or higher in their course related Work Habits/Guiding Principles and to successfully demonstrate at least 3-Level proficiency on all Accelerated level assessments and Learning Target/Measurement Topics, while striving for 4- Level Proficiency through meeting teacher-pace course expectations. Students who are not able to maintain a 3 or higher in their Work Habits/Guiding Principles within the course will not be recommended for the next Accelerated section of the pathway.” I am reminding all about the above as the key for our students and teaching staff will be in working together as a team so that all students strive to demonstrate the above by doing their best!

Why do I respect our kids so much? Let me share the following:

  • -  One of our students came to see me to discuss an idea the first day of school. She shared that a few weeks ago she was going through her clothes closet and thought to herself “I am so lucky, but I have too much. There are so many that don’t have a lot and I want to help them.”

  • -  Gabrielle Sawyer (2014 graduate) is now heading into her sophomore year at the University of Rhode Island after achieving the Dean’s List her first two semesters!

  • -  Moriah Biener felt very honored and humble to be chosen as our 2nd Student School Board Rep for the 15-16 School Year.

  • -  A letter from a visiting fan:

o “Dear Mr. Scully...

Just a quick note to mention something I witnessed at last night's field hockey game against Noble. At the beginning, after announcing the starting lineup, when the National Anthem was sung, EACH team on all of your fields faced the flag and respected the singing of our National Anthem. The football team removed their helmets and the other teams on the practice fields also stopped practice to pay attention. This may be normal/tradition for your school, but it's not something that #$@%^ practices... to our shame. I was touched to the point of tears, honestly. It's important.

Thank you for teaching those kids respect. It was a lovely sight to see.”

Some of the many reasons why I have a high regard for the kids we are privileged to work with!

Thanks for reading the above!

Very truly yours,

Christian M. Elkington Principal